I have recently decided to open up about my own experience with anxiety in the last year as I hope to help those who are struggling. I struggle with a form of social anxiety which involves an intense fear of situations which involve public speaking.
Towards the end of 2017 I delivered a presentation which went terribly wrong and I left the room. Of course, I had to return shortly after and when I did I couldn’t look my audience in the eye. Ever-since, I’ve had an intense fear of public speaking. Consequently, I’ve purposely skipped classes to avoid these situations. As you may be aware, presentations are a common practice at university and when faced with the task I made up an excuse. The day before I had a presentation (my first since I messed up) I played football and I got elbowed in the face which gave me a black-eye. Although it was painful, I was relieved as I used it as an excuse to avoid presenting. I didn’t want to skip the presentation, not really but I was just terribly afraid. My palms would sweat and my heart would pump so fast that I was physically rooted to the spot.
The hardest part of the anxiety was accepting that my issues didn’t just affect me in formal situations. Around the same time of the presentation, my friend hosted a games night and we all played Cards Against Humanities. It was my turn to read the cards– easy right? Well it should have been, but there it was again– the anxiety was back. My heart was racing and I didn’t know why or how to stop it. I was just so afraid of speaking whilst everyone was watching me. It sounds pathetic but I couldn’t help it. I remember having to explain and it was the hardest thing I have ever done.
Enough was enough. I needed help and I saw a doctor who prescribed me with medication before seeking counselling. Although this helped, the problems, especially whilst at uni are still there. My battle with anxiety is far from over and this year I really want to hit back at it so I decided to blog my experiences and confront them head on. To anyone else struggling, please don’t be afraid to open up and share.
You may find posts dealing with anxiety under the Diary tab.